A small step

16 09 2008

Unlike Neil Armstrong’s words there is no giant leap in the offing. Indeed, the BBC correspondent got it right; no-one is dancing in the streets. I am referring of course to the power sharing deal signed yesterday between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangarai. Both the EU and USA have said that they will not do anything until they see concrete signs of change. And change there had better be; the WFP estimates that 5 million people (half the population) will need food aid by January next year. That is quite and achievement for a country that only 10 years ago was a net food exporter.

A lot of really odious laws have to go too. The Public Order and Security Act (POSA) that effectively allows the government to prosecute anyone for anything including criticism of the president or the police has to be one of the first. I am curious to see what is going to become of the state controlled media that will hopefully have to become self-funding and a little less fawning. The ruling party (ZANU-PF) has relied on state funding for most of its tenure – will that be withdrawn? I hope so. Will the culprits of political violence meet their true justice? I doubt it, certainly not the fat cats who really should. No, this is definitely not first prize, it is a pragmatic solution. I would really like to see Robert and his cronies in The Hague with the good company of various eastern European criminals but that is unlikely. The best I can hope for is that he suffers a massive, debilitating stroke that leaves him irrelevant and wallowing in his own excrement and bitterness. I did not watch or listen to the signing ceremony yesterday but one who did hear him droning on about colonialism and the “War of Liberation” (that ended 28 years ago) said that he looked like a distinctly spent force. There is hope yet.